This study aims to elucidate the learning aspects of the naturalist approach through meaningful learning. Fifty participants, who were enrolled in a BA programme in leadership and management for teacher trainees in Israel, were encouraged to research a question on a topic that interested them in educational leadership. The analysis was based on the qualitative approach. The data analysis followed a three-step process: open coding, axial coding and selective coding. The data were organized using ATLAS.ti 5.0. The findings indicated that most of the questions revolved around a four-dimensional model that included ‘student in the centre’, ‘school social aspects’, ‘school discipline’ and ‘effective learning’. These dimensions included topics that were taught explicitly or implicitly in the ‘Introduction to educational leadership and administration’ course. However, these dimensions also included topics that had not been taught during the introductory course and were of interest to the participants as a result of the unique Israeli context. The present paper proposes some ideas as to how to bridge the gap between what students perceive as interesting and what experienced faculty perceive as important, given the time constraints of the introduction course.
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© 2014 Taylor & Francis.